David Starkey

Postcard from Finland

“What's the Difference Between Turkey and Turku?”
you wrote, facetious as ever. But listen:
not much, really--spelling, the usual
accidents of place. Perhaps the seasons
are worth remarking on, though heat and cold
are twin aspects of the same dynamic.
The similarities are what count,
how when you say a name at night it echoes,
the swirl of smoke from street vendors’ fires.
Put it this way: in the ancient monuments
of both places there is a smell that permeates
the damp or dusty air, perseverance
and cruelty, as old as the men who built
these ruins, who stacked one brick atop
another in the name of God the creator,
God the destroyer, God the merchant of time.